The U.S. Has the Most Startups That Could Change the World

Sintia Radu

The United States enters 2020 on a favorable technology setting, with 23 of 36 of what CB Insights labels "game-changing" tech startup companies this year being based in the country. The U.S. is still significantly ahead of its major competitors -- Canada, Israel, Sweden, Singapore, and the United Kingdom -- according to the New York-based private market intelligence firm.

CB Insights ranked the 36 startup companies based on their health, looking at recency of financing, total funds raised and investor quality. The data was processed via machine learning technologies.

In 2020, the "game-changing" companies, defined as "pioneering technology with the potential to transform society and economies for the better," will develop chips operating at the speed of light, quantum cryptography, and more transparency in artificial intelligence processes. The world will see safer and more precise gene-editing methods, more accurate medical diagnostics based on protein structure analysis and the increased use of microbiome analyses and electrical therapies instead of chemical drugs and medicines for mental illness. Additionally, companies will employ a DNA data marketplace and new methods for removing and recycling carbon dioxide, says CB Insights.

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The U.S. will excel in the majority of these fields, according to CB Insights. Companies based in the country will be particularly good in the field of optical chip innovation, a type of super-fast chip using higher-bandwidth photons instead of electrons. U.S. startup companies will also lead in areas such as gene-editing techniques, electro-charged therapeutics, microbiome analysis and building accountability methods for AI algorithms.

"As AI is increasingly used for decision-making across industries, understanding how and why an algorithm makes its decisions can help mitigate inherent biases associated with most AI systems in existence today," say the authors of the CB Insights report.

Canada, the country with the second-largest number of game-changing startups in 2020, will perform well in quantum cryptography, AI accountability, AI-based protein medical predictions, medicine for mental illness, carbon capturing, and nuclear energy, according to the report.

The United Kingdom has startup companies that build DNA data marketplaces, medicine for mental illness, AI-based protein medical predictions and quantum cryptography methods and techniques.

Sweden, Singapore and Israel each have one startup among the 36 that CB Insights lists. Israeli-based Theranica aims to combine advanced neuromodulation therapy with wireless technology to treat migraines. Sweden's Einride is developing a self-driving electric shipping vehicles adaptable to different loads, while Singapore's SpeQtral operates in space based quantum communication and using satellites to quantum encrypt and secure communication.

Sintia Radu is an international affairs and global technology reporter at U.S. News & World Report. She previously reported on business and technology for the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She served as the managing editor for Esquire Romania. She graduated from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, and earned her Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Missouri. She is a fellow of the National Press Foundation for a program on the impact of artificial intelligence. She was part of the 2016 Women in STEM cohort at Chicago's 1871 technology and entrepreneurship center, and helped design a multiple award-winning iOS/watchOS app profiled in the 2017 Associated Press report on The Future of Augmented Journalism. She is a Fulbright scholarship recipient and gave a TEDx talk on immigration and diversity. Follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, or email her at